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Outbreak of human parvovirus B19 hidden by a dengue virus epidemic


Background. Seasonal outbreaks of dengue often result in hundreds of dengue-suspected cases where a clinical diagnosis can- not be confirmed. Usually, during large outbreaks of dengue and other pathogens that can cause acute febrile illnesses, the search for secondary pathogens with similar disease outcomes is rare. Methods. Using total RNA sequencing and targeted diagnostic assays, we discovered an outbreak of parvovirus B19 in dengue- suspected patients that occurred from November 2013 to February 2014. Results. Of the 182 cases investigated, 63% were viremic for the B19 virus. Moreover, we found that >43% of infected patients had no serological evidence of prior infection. Parvovirus B19 is a typical childhood infection, yet we observed that 82% of the infected patients were adults. Additionally, we perceived that infected adults had significantly higher presentations of myalgia than in children. We also obtained viral protein (VP) 1/VP2 gene nucleotide sequences from 43 patients. Conclusions. Our results support the utility of next-generation sequencing for symptomatic patients with unknown etiologies during seasonal outbreaks of dengue and other arborviruses. Our findings could improve the vigilance of hospitals and laboratories by raising awareness of co-circulating pathogens such as parvovirus B19 that may be hidden in plain sight. Keywords. parvovirus B19; hidden outbreak; next-generation sequencing; dengue fever; passive surveillance. (AU)

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